Thursday, July 11, 2013

IFTTT mobile app opens up new world of automation on your phone


The folks at If This Then That (IFTTT) have released an iOS app that can put some serious automation power behind routine tasks on your iPhone.

The concept behind If This Then That is pretty simple, and IFTTT has now made it even more simple with essentially push-button operations: An action triggers another action, all on its own.

For instance, one of the "recipes" (as they're known) that I've set up is to automatically upload any photo on my iPhone camera roll that gets put into the "Flickr" album to, naturally, Flickr. This was one I found on the IFTTT website and I activated it using my own Flickr account info. Painless. It was basically something I was doing on my own manually every couple of days, but now it's all automated to work in the background. All I have to do is move the new photos into the Flickr album in my camera roll and IFTTT does the rest.

Another one that I created myself takes pictures uploaded to Instagram and tweets them out using the native Twitter picture format rather than the unsupported Instagram link that doesn't natively display in Twitter anymore. 

How does it do that? I have no idea. But it works, and that's the important part. You don't have to know how the coding works. Instead, you just have to pair options together, which IFTTT does really well.

That's the beauty of both the app and the website - they've essentially automated the automation. You choose your initial action from a series of options and then it walks you through what you want to do. You can customize a simple recipe and get under the hood and tweak it out if you want, or you can just take the straightforward one and use it, too. And there are tons of pre-made recipes that you can just take and use, plugging in your own account info. Do you want to backup your Instagram photos to Dropbox? There's a recipe for that. Do you want new movie releases added to your calendar? You can do that, too.

There are dozens of apps and services supported, so the only limit on the recipe creation would appear to be your imagination.


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